Catalina (KAVX)

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Catalina offers an incredibly scenic getaway just a short hop from the busy Los Angeles Basin. Perched 1602 feet above the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island’s Airport-In-The-Sky is located approximately 10 miles from Avalon in the Island’s interior.  The asphalt-paved runway is 3,250 feet long.  The airport is owned and operated by the Catalina Island Conservancy, which charges a $30 landing fee to use the facility.  Overnight tie-downs are available.  And since the airport is quite some distance from the beautiful Avalon, the Conservancy also operates a shuttle service between the airport and Avalon.  Please contact the airport for service and fee information: 310-510-0143. The shuttle service does take some time and runs on a set schedule, so make sure to call in advance and plan accordingly. Otherwise you might be spending a night in Catalina.

Landing at Catalina is a challenging proposition for an inexperienced pilot. The narrow runway is bordered on either end by steep cliffs. Runway illusions are present and the steeper than normal gradient of the narrow runway further complicates the equation. Straight in approaches are frowned upon and for good reason. Due to the visual illusions, it’s quite common to come in at a much shallower than ideal glide angle, resulting in a dangerous potential CFIT scenario.

We strongly recommend working with an instructor or, at minimum, a familiar pilot on how to safely operate in and out of this airport. Just take note that pattern work is not allowed on the weekends and the airport has published hours for transient traffic.

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  • DC3 Gifts and Grill is the on-field restaurant and it has a phenomenal assortment of quick and easy bites. You can check out the menu on their website

  • Landing fee: $30 paid at the observation tower

  • No touch and goes.

  • Runway 22 is the preferred landing runway. Beware of steep downgrade landing on 04.

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Departing from Van Nuys you have a few different options. The one we would recommend, and arguably the easiest and safest, is to transition the LAX Bravo shelf via the LAX Special Flight Rules. If you’re not familiar, give us a call and one of our instructors would be happy to help you get acquainted. You can find the Special Flight Rules on your TAC. Or if you’re a ForeFlight user, go to Documents > FAA > Visual Chart Supplemental > Los Angeles TAC Supplemental. Once you exit the Special Flight Rules to the south, pay attention to the Bravo shelves and head to Point Vicente (just SW of KTOA). From there, you can proceed direct to the twin harbors (the little harbors NW of KAVX) and turn to enter the downwind ans you approach the field. Again, pay special attention to the Bravo shelves. We also recommend carrying water survival equipment (read life vests) since you will be flying over water for at least a few minutes.

Legal Disclaimer:

The above information is presented for education purposes only and is not designed to replace official information or navigational sources. Always consult your regional Chart Supplement (A/FD) and NOTAMS for complete and official information.